Movies That Aren't Star Wars

Photo by Heather SwaimI'll admit it: I've gone as StarWarscrazy as everybody else. I mean, this is it: the last StarWarsmovie ever. Anakin Skywalker's transformation into Darth Vader! The birth of Luke and Leia! Wookiees! And the reviews suggest this one actuallydoesn'tsuck.Man, I've been waiting for this since I was seven years old.

But this movie will probably stay planted at the No. 1 spot for many weeks, and some other, interesting-looking summer movies could wither and die in its long shadow. Movies such as . . .

Paul Schrader's Dominion:APrequeltotheExorcistopens in limited release this Friday, and I'd wager about nine people will show up to see it nationwide. This is the Exorcistprequel that studio bosses shelved for being insufficiently gory, only to then commission Exorcist:TheBeginning,a pitiful remake directed by Renny "Cutthroat Island"Harlin. Schraeder is the screenwriter of such Scorsese classics as TaxiDriver,and word is that his Exorcistis nearly as spooky as the 1971 original. I'm so excited I'm vomiting pea soup just thinking about it.

If you saw Hayao Miyazaki's Oscar winner SpiritedAway,you will be thrilled to learn that his new animated freak show, Howl'sMovingCastle,opens June 10. The new film has been described as a more adult tale about a teen transformed into an old lady who goes on a journey to try and reclaim her stolen youth. If it's half as wonderfully creepy as SpiritedAway,it'll be an instant classic.

On July 15, Tim Burton brings us his version of Roald Dahl's CharlieandtheChocolateFactory,with Johnny Depp in the Willie Wonka role. If anybodybut Depp was replacing Gene Wilder, we'd cry sacrilege. This thing has the potential to seriously suck, but let us bow our heads and pray that this is an EdwardScissorhands-iancharmer and not a PlanetoftheApes-sizeddisaster.

Two words: Terry Gilliam. Three words: TheBrothersGrimm.The genius director of everything from TimeBanditsto FearandLoathinginLasVegasis always worth watching, and on July 29 we'll be treated to his latest dark fantasy. Three more words: I am moist.

Aug. 5 is the date for Mike Judge's 3001,a new comedy from the creator of BeavisandButt-Head,KingoftheHilland OfficeSpace.Luke Wilson stars as a guy who is put in hibernation for a thousand years, awakening to a futuristic world so dumbed-down that he is now the smartest man alive. Judge has yet to disappoint, and this could be the funniest sci-fi satire since Sleeper.(Well, since Hitchhiker'sGuide,anyhow.)

And finally, Aug. 19 will bring us The40YearOldVirgin,a dark comedy from FreaksandGeeks'Judd Apatow and TheDailyShow'sSteve Carell. Carell stars as a seemingly average guy who's made it to middle age without getting laid, a condition his co-workers scheme to remedy. This thing won't need Wookiees to be great.


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